“This theory of political transformation rests on the weaponization (and slight bastardization) of the work by Yale political scientist Stephen Skowronek. Skowronek has written extensively about what distinguishes transformational presidents from caretaker presidents. In order for a president to be transformational, the old order has to fall as the orthodoxies that kept it in power exhaust themselves. Obama’s gambit in 2009 was to build a new post-partisan consensus. That didn’t work, but by exploiting the weaknesses of today’s Republican Party, Obama has an opportunity to hasten the demise of the old order by increasing the political cost of having the GOP coalition defined by Second Amendment absolutists, climate science deniers, supporters of “self-deportation” and the pure no-tax wing.”
So, you maybe thought that the election was over. Guess what? The election is never over. This country was founded on a principle of continual political revolution, carried out in the realm of civil discourse. It has survived and thrived through over two centuries and it has continued to move forward even in the face of extreme polarization.
If we see the process of governance only in terms of voting in an election or two we will be ground down as petty fodder for those who exploit our ignorance. As a former community organizer our president understands this, and has apparently decided (wisely) to keep the wheels of election politics rolling well past this inauguration.
In his first term Obama took on the medical establishment and made a beginning for real health care reform. He took on the issue of gay rights and in the process helped move along public perception in that area. In his second term he will face economic reform, the reduction of military spending and gun violence as well as trying to move along the public awareness of climate change.
Resistance to all parts of his agenda will be massive and well organized. The conservative movement that arose with the election of Ronald Reagan and the Christian Right is currently in disarray. The race is on to pass their agenda to another generation which will be tricky as urban and minority populations grow, white people become a minority and more and more young people turn away from religion. Being well funded and well organized however, they aren’t going down without a hell of a fight.
So, the battle continues. First, from Politico is a piece on Obama’s new political initiative. This is the work of community organizing from the ground up. Instead of using the churches, as did the Christian Right, Obama’s coalition will build on the hi-tech tracking and door to door efforts that won the last two elections.
Second, here is a link to an article that appears in Slate which looks at the coming struggle that uses all kinds of refreshingly uncompromising language (I like the word pulverize).